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September 27 , 2010

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl


Harriet Jacobs  was an African-American writer who escaped from slavery and became an abolitionist speaker and reformer. Jacobs' single work, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, published in 1861 under the pseudonym Linda Brent, was one of the first autobiographical narratives about the struggle for freedom by female slaves and an account of the sexual harassment and abuse they endured.

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Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is the immensely powerful autobiography of Harriet Jacobs, who wrote under a pen name. A feminist work, she uses her experiences to state and restate her belief that though all unhappiness sprung from being a slave, she had to endure worse, being also a woman. Her experiences show that the only refuge and…


The book is an in-depth chronological account of Jacobs's life as a slave, with the decisions and choices she made to gain freedom for herself and her children. It addresses the struggles and sexual abuse that young women slaves faced on the plantations, and how these struggles were harsher than what men went through as slaves. The book is considered sentimental and written to provoke an emotional response and sympathy from the reader toward slavery in general and slave women in particular for the struggles they went through, with rape, the pressure to have sex at an early age, the selling of their children, and the treatment of female slaves by their mistresses.

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